In the first half of 2022, I used the Atik Infinity camera again a little at my Omegon PS 72/432 refractor. These were mainly tests of the StellarMate astronomy computer, so image quality was not my main concern.
Note: I sold my Atik Infinity at the beginning of January 2023.
I looked into different sky regions, so a description does not make much sense here.
Since the observations were separated through a long period of time, a sky map does not make much sense here.
The observations started every day when it was sufficiently dark. This can be at quite different times in the course of the year.
The observations took partly place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany) ...:
... and partly in Erkerode (near Braunschweig, Germany):
The equipment was matched to the StellarMate astronomy computer: StellarMate with PowerBank, iPad with StellarMate app, AZ-GTi mount with PowerTank (serves also for the camera), Atik Infinity camera (or other cameras) and my Omegon PS 73/432 ED refractor (432 mm, f/6). To be able to get into focus with the refractor, I used T2 extension sleeves (Explore Scientific):
PS 72/432 with T2 extension sleeves, overview
PS 72/432 with T2 extension sleeves
Atik Infinity with T2 extension sleeves
In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for deep sky objects. Cameras will find the objects even in worse conditions, but really good results are obtained only under dark skies. In Erkerode, the sky is a little bit darker...
|Observed Objects||Further Observations and Remarks||Devices Used||Reducers Used||General Remarks|
|OC: M 35, M 36, M 37, M 38
GN: M 1, M 42/43, M 78
G: M 31
|Order: M 42, M 31, M 33 (did not work), M 78, M 1, break (8:05-9:29 p.m.), M 1, M 42, M 31, M 35 (+ NGC 2158), M 37, M 38, M 36.||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||---||Goal: Test Atik Infinity at StellarMate (with AZ-GTi) at night (7-9 p.m.).
The "technique" worked right away during the initial dry tests and also during observing.
M 33 could not be accessed, all other objects could be accessed, but not all searches reported a successful alignment. Overall, this was my best observing evening with the StellarMate so far.
At the beginning, I used an exposure time of 5s. When I tried 2.5s, the app did not respond to anything, but took photos all the time. Later, I used 10s; then the app responded better. Nevertheless, there were quite a few delays, and sometimes app restarts were necessary. Often, the screen did not update, sometimes only again after restarting the app. The quality of the results was again poor, but I had not focused the PS 72/432 using a Bahtinov mask...
|OC: NGC 2264
GN: M 42/43, NGC 1499, NGC 2244
G: M 65, M 66, M 105, NGC 3628
|Order: M 42, NGC 2264 (Christmas Tree Cluster), NGC 2244 (Rosette Nebula), NGC 1499 (California Nebula), M 65/66, M 105, Leo Triplet (M 65/66, NGC 3628)||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||----||Goal: Test the Atik Infinity at the StellarMate (with AZ-GTi) at night (9 - 10 pm?). I wondered if it might be the small FOV of the ASI224 that plate solving was not working. And indeed, some targets could now be approached with this camera, which has twice the FOV of the ASI224! It did not always work correctly, but it could be seen that the plate solving somehow "acted".|
|GN: M 42/43, NGC 2244||Targets: M 42, NGC 2244 (Rosette Nebula)||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||---||Goal: I tested the Atik Infinity at the StellarMate once more. M 42 could be accessed, Procyon and the Rosette Nebula (NGC 2244) as well. After/at Procyon, I focused with a Bahtinov mask in the 2nd attempt, but had big problems to overcome. Nevertheless, I succeeded in the end: M 42 could be accessed again and was sharper this time!|
|GN: M 42/43||Targets: M 42||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity||---||StellarMate attempts with the Atik Infinity were quite chaotic... At first, nothing worked, later it worked a bit. But it was much worse than the day before! In the end, I found M 42 (with a branch; around 9:25 p.m.)...|
|GN: M 42/43
G: M 51, M 65, M 66, M 81, M 82
|Order: M 42 (9:10-10:15 p.m.), M 81, M 82, M 51, M 65/66 (until 11:25 p.m.).||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||---||Sky quality was at maximum about 19.6 SQM; 9:10-11:25 p.m. (daylight saving time)
StellarMate test: First, I accessed Procyon and focused with a Bahtinov mask. Then, I approached a couple of targets, found most of them, later also from inside (kitchen).
This evening was a first success with the Atik Infinity, because the Live Stacking worked better than ever before, the screen was updated, stacked photos could be saved (partly this apparently now also happened automatically*), etc. I suspect that this is related to the software update that I made two days earlier, where Live Stacking is explicitly mentioned in the notes.
|G: M 51, M 65, M 66, M 81, M 82, M 84, M 86, M 101, M 108, NGC 3344
PN: M 97
|Order: M 65/66, M 81/82 (M 81 selected, position changed), M 51, M 101, M 97, M 108 (could not get M 97 and M 107 together on the photo), M 95/96 (NGC 3345 indicated; just streaks...), NGC 3344 (was a mistake...), M 84/86 (M 84 selected; Great Galactic Face)||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||---||SQM not measured (two nights before half moon); after 10:00 p.m. (observed until a little after midnight)
StellarMate test: Focusing was done with a Bahtinov mask. After enlarging the error value, the alignment finally worked, and the GoTo worked mostly reliably (it did not always signal "completed"...).
|G: M 84, M 86, M 87||Order: M 87, M 84/86 (M 84 selected; Great Galactic Face)||PS 72/432 on AZ-GTi with Atik Infinity, StellarMate||---||SQM not measured (about half moon); observed from 10:30 p.m. to 11:05 p.m.
StellarMate test: Focused with Bahtinov mask. M 87 stacked for a fairly long time (30x); overall, only a brief test, because of the half moon, the results were disappointing...
Bold: First observation during this observation period; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, P = star pattern, DN = dark nebula
|M 1||Crab Nebula||Orion||GN||PS72||Small|
|M 31||Andromeda Galaxy||Andromeda||G||PS72||Together with M 32|
|M 35||Gemini||OC||PS72||Together with OC NGC 2158|
|M 42/43||Orion Nebula||Orion||GN||PS72||Fairly good, smaller than in eVscope|
|M 51||Whirlpool Galaxy||Canes Venatici||G||PS72||Small|
|M 65||Leo||G||PS72||Together with M 66 on photo|
|M 66||Leo||G||PS72||Together with M 65 on photo|
|M 78||Orion||GN||PS72||Basically faint and noisy|
|M 81||Bode Galaxy||Ursa Major||G||PS72||Relatively small|
|M 82||Cigar Galaxy||Ursa Major||G||PS72||Small|
|M 84||Virgo||G||PS72||Together with M 86 as "Great Galactic Face"|
|M 86||Virgo||G||PS72||Together with M 84 as "Great Galactic Face"|
|M 87||Virgo||G||PS72||Center of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster|
|M 97||Owl Nebula||Ursa Major||PN||PS72||Parly with M 108 on the photo|
|M 101||Pinwheel Galaxy||Ursa Major||G||PS72||Very faint|
|M 105||Leo||G||PS72||Small, together with other galaxies|
|M 108||Ursa Major||G||PS72||Edge-on, partly with M 97 on the photo|
|NGC 1499||California Nebula||Perseus||GN||PS72||Only poor photos...|
|NGC 2244||Monoceros||OC||PS72||Only the star cluster is visible on the photo|
|NGC 2264||Christmas Tree Cluster||Monoceros||OC||PS72||Only the star cluster is visible on the photo|
|NGC 3344||Leo||G||PS72||Very small|
|NGC 3628||Leo||G||PS72||As triplet with M 65/66, seen edge-on|
G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, SP = star pattern, DN = dark nebula
When searching for deep sky objects, a good preparation is obligatory - you read this, and I can confirm it. "Good preparation" means, on the one hand, that you compile a list of objects that you want to observe, including notes on where and how to find them.
On the other hand, even when doing "quick astro photography" with the Atik Infinity camera (a variety of "video astronomy") more technology has to be prepared than for purely visual observation, especially if you just put a small Dobson or Maksutov telescope on the terrace table for this... Above, I describe, what equipment I use and need for taking photos with the Atik Infinity camera.